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The conquering of the deathly Augria Sand Dunes in order to reach Pleiades Watchtower.
The Beastmaster, Meili, joined Subaru’s group as a member that would boost their confidence in escaping from the sandy labyrinth—— a maze in which laid a Witchbeast Den.
However, even though it had been settled that she would be brought along, this girl had been the sole resident of the mansion’s Confinement Room for a long period, one year to be exact, because she had assisted Roswaal. She had an history of cooperating with the Bowel Hunter in attacking the mansion, and naturally, Subaru had thought that arguments about releasing Meili from her solitary confinement would be natural, but——
Roswaal: “There’s nooothing~ wrong with it, is there? If Emilia-sama and Subaru-kun have decided to let you out, then there shouldn’t be any problem with that? Even if their judgement turns out to be inaccurate and she indeed has bad intentions, you guys are the ones that she’d aim for, youuu~ know.”
Roswaal readily gave Meili permission to leave. The contents of his reply were truly Roswaal-ish, but what mattered was that she had gained his permission for the moment anyway.
And thus, Meili was finally allowed out of her year-long confinement.
Meili: “Mmmmm~! Just as I thought, the atmosphere outside is sooo different. Being in that cramped room for soooo long made it hard for me to breathe.”
Subaru: “But still, we tried doing a lot of different things to make you feel otherwise, huh. It wasn’t as bad as you say it was, you know?”
Meili: “Reaaaally? I welcome the concern, but being able to freely move your body is a whooole different feeling. Onii-san, if you don’t learn to appreciate the small things, you’ll be hated by onee-san and ojou-chan long before you know it, you knooow.”
Meili’s lips aligned in a pout while holding her plethora of stuffed animals.
Incidentally, the person Meili was referring to as “onee-san” was Emilia, while the person she was referring to as “ojou-chan” was Beatrice. She would refer to Petra as “Petra-chan”, Garfiel as “fanged onii-san”, and thus she’d reasonably refer to Otto as “weakling”.
Meili: “Can I rest in this room?”
Subaru: “From what I’ve been told, there shouldn’t be a problem. Someone came in to clean this place, despite it being a room that isn’t used very often, so you shouldn’t feel uneasy about it being dirty or anything like that. Frederica should have come to clean the room right around the time we were bringing our luggage out as well, so.”
Within the western wing of Roswaal’s mansion were many private rooms for servants—— The inside of one of them, was currently being inspected by a curious Meili.
Meili had been freed from the Confinement Room. However, her position remained complex. Naturally, expelling her was out of question, as she needed to be taken care of at the mansion. But what exactly was her role? Was she a guest? Was she a maid? She couldn’t be pushed away to the point of calling her a guest, but she wasn’t as close as to be labelled a maid.
Thus, they had settled on branding her a cooperative worker of the mansion, as it would have been insufficient to call her a maid, and it would have been insufficient to call her a guest, and was assigned a room on the servant’s floor.
Her belongings, that were kept in the Confinement Room, would be brought over, making it seem as if this bland room had been dyed with colors of her choice.
Meili: “Even if I’ve been freed, I don’t know how long I’ll be staying here, you know. Once something that seems like an opportunity to live peacefully appears, I might immediately run away, after all.”
Subaru: “Well, what’s most important is that you don’t cause trouble nor go back to that Mama of yours. You can do whatever you want other than that. Oh, but, I’ll make sure you carry out this duty properly. After that, then you can do whatever you want.”
Meili: “You’re saying that, when i-i-i-it’s all taken care of, I can die wherever I want?”
Subaru: “I have to even hear about stuff like that? Why would I care about where someone dies…? That’s what the cynical, pretentious me of the past would say, but I won’t say stuff like that now.”
After Subaru had set down all her belongings into the room, he petted Meili’s head as she stood still at the window. This girl with braided, chestnut hair twinkled her eyes as Subaru continued to pet her head.
Subaru: “I want the gang to live decently, and die decently, no matter what. You’re free to leave if you want it, but at least send us back a letter or something. Just enjoy this time as genuinely as you can.”
He gave a light pat to her head at the end of his statement, then brought his hand back. After receiving that tap to her head, Meili glared at Subaru with scornful eyes, putting her own hand where Subaru’s had been.
Meili: “…Onii-san, did you win over ojou-chan and Petra-chan like that? Jeeez, even being in constant caution of you isn’t enough.”
Subaru: “That aaactually wasn’t my intention, you know.”
Scratching his head, Subaru then finished helping Meili bring her personal belongings in and headed towards the room’s exit. He did not have any intention of helping with the rearrangement of the room upon completing the task of bringing in her stuff. On top of that, there probably was a helpless wall separating Subaru’s sense of remodeling and Meili’s own.
Thus, he decided it would be best to depart before doing anything unnecessary that would cause her to dislike him.
Meili: “Well, I’ll take your words with a grain of salt. Besides, you’re going to be throwing your life away soon at the Augria Sand Dunes anyway.”
Subaru: “We aren’t going to throw away our lives; we’re going to assemble our lives. And that’s where we’ll be heavily relying on your powers, so we’ll be counting on you.”
Meili: “Okay, okay.”
Swinging his hand back and forth to the girl who was blowing him off so that he would leave, Subaru went out the room. She brought out each of her belongings out from a box, all while wearing an indifferent face as she avoided looking at Subaru, and her possessions were displayed in a first, tentative manner.
Just like Meili had said, this was a room that made her feel like she didn’t know how long she would be staying, nor that she knew if she’d return.
Meili: “I’m having fun, ahhh.”
This girl indulged herself in her own room, as she walked around with a gait that exemplified unrestrained enthusiasm. And as she went around arranging her favorite stuffed animals, the happiness of the young girl, having obtained her own room for the first time, was plain for all to see—— it would make anyone feel pleased, to see such a spring in the step of a young girl.
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With the decision of adding Meili to the group, the participants in the Exciting Tour to Inquiry the Sage would include this group of seven—— Subaru, Emilia and Beatrice, as members of the same organization, and Julius, Anastasia, and Meili, as outsiders-made-collaborators. And, another girl would be taken out. Rem.
The aforementioned were the seven members of the party who would face the Augria Sand Dunes located at the eastern end of the world.
The Augria Sand Dunes, a place located at the edge of the world, laid in a straight line east of the new Roswaal mansion—— but, as the path they would travel was longer than the one leading to the Watergate City of Pristella, it would take close to twenty days for just a one-way trip.
In other words, just the roundtrip journey would take a total of forty days. They would safely arrive at the Watchtower, and considering they would be staying there for a couple of days, the length of this large expedition could very well turn into something close to two months instead. The problem with this was——
Subaru: “Heyy, Petra. Sorry for leaving you alone, but let me at least brighten your mood.”
Petra: “Don’t worry~. I’m not angry, it’s fine. Subaru-sama can go to as many faraway, dangerous places as he wants, just like he always has, right?”
Petra was yielding to the harsh depression that resulted from having to stay behind during the Pristella affairs for a whole month, which would soon become a period of two months.
This girl walked impetuously around the mansion with a cold, clear face, as she waved around her maid outfit, an outfit that was befitting for her petite body. As for Subaru, he was following her back, showering her in apologies, in the midst of trying his best to repair her humor.
Anyways, why was it even necessary for Subaru to be this frantic in fixing Petra’s mood? Well, the common assumption was that, in all times and all places, whenever a girl became displeased in such a manner, it was usually the guy’s fault.
In reality, Petra was the girl with the most prominent girl power in the mansion. She would proudly display this girl power as the representative for the girls. In this mansion, the only possible unfortunate men that could have possibly harmed her mood were Subaru, Roswaal, Garfiel, Otto—— Wait a second, isn’t that a lot of people? And wait… Weren’t all guys unfortunate when it came to power? Once he was revived, Puck would probably join the ranks of these bad boys. It was beyond pathetic. But anyways——
Subaru: “I know that leaving you behind with Ros-chi at the mansion for a month would stress you so much to the point it’d be hard for you to breathe, but if just reason that it’s just part of your job and can’t be pick ab… Guh!”
Petra: “I don’t get mad over things like that! I’m not a kid! Stop saying weird things like that when I have Ram-neesama and Frederica-neesama.”
Subaru: “To think a girl who headbutts the pit of a man’s stomach would claim she’s not a child is just…”
Petra, having caused Subaru to collapse in agony with a strike to a vital part of his body. truly resembled anger.
She stuck a prideful pose as she held her waist with both of her hands, and she stuck out her chest to insistently convince him that her appearance was indicative of anything but a kid. However, a lady’s essence was something that would be reached before her body. As for Beatrice, her body’s growth rate would not catch up at all, so it felt like her attitude was being dragged along as well, but…
Subaru: “But Petra, wasn’t this headbutt from a higher place than your previous one? Well even then, it felt like there was a small moment at the start of your previous headbutt where you were on your tiptoes before you came flying towards my chest.”
Petra: “…I’m dumbfounded. Didn’t I tell Beatrice? Hey, look! I’ve grown up in this past month, my back has grown, my legs have grown, and hasn’t my face become cute as well?”
Subaru: “Ah, I guess you did grow a bit? Your back and your hair I mean. Although, your face was cute from the beginning.”
Originally, Petra was the beauty of the Arlam Village. Having been lured away by the mansion to serve as one of its maids had caused a great fuss, as Petra, being the village’s boys’ dream girl, was the one girl everyone wanted to marry.
To be more specific, you could cause a sumo wrestling tournament to unfold in the center of the plaza if you challenged these crybabies. The adults would barge in at the end, and the celebration of lifting the somehow beaten-up Subaru into the air would reach its end. It would be an enigmatic rite of passage.
Anyhow, Petra was this girl who was loved by the villagers. She was a girl who often expressed her sorrow about helping with the mansion. He wanted to use the convenience of having her in the mansion as much as possible, for the sake of the extraordinary future potential Petra had in store. That being said, at the same time, Subaru held no power within the mansion, so he would cherish these days to an extent so that he’d continue on without forgetting this type of ordinary life, although——
Subaru: “Also, you weren’t able to be the extremely playful girl that you are. As for neesama and her well-known temper… I am aware of how you feel suffocated from having her tell you to work all the time.”
Petra: “It’s not like that, though…”
Subaru let both of his arms open to console the pouting girl. Petra showed a slightly hesitant gesture, and then she jumped into Subaru’s arms. He hugged her small body, and then petted her head as to reward her.
Petra: “Subaru… I mean, Subaru-sama, you’re going to do something dangerous again?”
Subaru: “It’s not as if it’s completely settled that it’s going to be dangerous, you know? Actually, it kinda sounds like I’m saying you shouldn’t consider the possibility of it being dangerous, but the truth is, it really might be a reasonably safe expedition.”
Petra: “What’s the probability of each outcome?”
Subaru: “I guess it would be a ratio of eight-to-two, with the safe outcome being the lowest, maybe?”
Petra: “To me, that sounds like it’d be pretty dangerous then.”
Not being able to lie in a meaningful conversation was one of Subaru’s bad habits.
Subaru felt like Petra had begun to becoming displeased while being held in his arms. He then he let out a sigh, as he did not understand what was wrong with her. Suddenly, Petra started to rub her forehead against his stomach.
Petra: “I’m worried. Subaru-sama is always like this, ever since you first came to the mansion, and ever since I met you at the village. You’ve been through so much, and going all over the place diligently, without even taking a break… It would be nice if you would learn a thing or two from my lazy Master.”
Subaru: “Nah. Even though Roswaal gave his stamp of approval, he probably has some sweat rolling down his forehead whenever we’re somewhere he can’t see. I agree that he’s useless when it comes to life-threatening matters, though.”
Petra: “It was rough with the Witchbeasts, it was rough with the Witch Cult, it was rough with the Earth Spider, it was rough with the Goddess Statue, it was rough at the Great Forest of Elior, and it was rough cleaning the graves too. Despite all that, you still fought with the witch cult at Pristella, and then Otto and the others died… Well, almost.”
Subaru: “Otto nearly died us back then.”
Otto dies too much.
Amazingly enough, Subaru was in complete agreement with this notion, but he wished that he wouldn’t simply die. If Otto died, Subaru would not be able to avoid dying himself as well.
Not to boast of it as a friendship that not even death would tear apart, though.
Petra: “Why can’t someone other than Subaru-sama do it? Someone, another person… You should just leave it up to someone stronger or something like that, like Master, since he has the time.”
Subaru: “I… I understand. I understand just how much frustration you’ve had piled up because of how Roswaal wastes his time so often. Stop trying to drive Roswaal off to his death every time you can. There’s way too much friction in this camp.”
It wouldn’t be a problem if it were just things like Roswaal not noticing how Petra would put squeeze juice out of her cleaning cloth into his tea. However, it would obviously be bad if she started showing her hostility and malice in clearer terms.
Before it turned out like that however, Subaru let out a commanding voice, but Petra eyed Subaru with a serious look. It seemed like half-assed deception and insincere words would not be able to convince her. Also, above all, Petra was seriously worried about Subaru’s safety.
Saying anything unnecessary and careless in this situation would be disrespectful to Petra’s feelings of anxiety.
Subaru: “Well, I get your point. I really do. It’s true that there seem to be Witchbeasts on the way to the Sage’s tower, it’s true that the desert’s maze is rumored to be ridiculous. And I know how ridiculous it is in the first place to aim for a Sage that’d get mad at us for coming close to the tower… But even then, there’s no way in hell I’d leave this up to someone else.”
Petra: “…Why? Subaru-sama, aren’t you perhaps overestimating your own strength? Just let Garf-san make an embarrassing assumption like that.”
Subaru: “Petra’s grading is seriously strict to the extreme! There’s no way in hell I’m going to let Garfiel hear that!”
Petra’s critical standards were so harsh that it would make many men tremble upon hearing them.
It would be appropriate to characterize Garfiel’s attitude towards his weakness as one of making false expectations while being unfazed. However, Garfiel made sure to put in earnest efforts to change these false expectations into reality. Also, in this case, the problem was probably the fact that he would be stronger when holding these erroneous beliefs.
The matter at hand thus could not be heard by Garfiel, considering his interpretation of his strength and his actual strength.
Subaru: “Well, putting aside Garfiel’s impression and his way of thinking… It’s not like I… It’s not like I think there’s no one out more suitable for the task. And first of all, leaving everything up to Reinhard would be safer in all kinds of ways as a preparation to escape the sand maze.”
Petra: “Then why don’t you let him do it?”
Subaru: “I wonder why. Despite being someone who’s fond of being pampered, I thought I was someone that didn’t yearn for honor.”
In actuality, he really did not understand why he desired to do it like this. However, if he were to dare and put it in words, perhaps these would be how to best put it?
Subaru: “——No, never mind, this is something I want to do myself, after all. Even if there’s someone more suited for it out there, even though I know there’d be a higher chance of success that way, I still want to do it.”
Subaru: “It’s embarrassing but… It’s because I want me to be the first person she sees when she wakes up.”
He did not specify who. But even so, Petra understood who it was.
If a way to wake up that girl—— the girl that laid in a state of continuous deep slumber, were to be found at the Sage’s tower, he wanted to be the one to seize it.
Even if there was someone else out there more suitable for the endeavor, even if someone other than himself with a higher chance of success existed, this was the sole thing he would not give up. He did not want to give it up. This was Subaru’s ego.
Subaru: “If I were to disregard my feelings and think of it from a rational viewpoint… Anyone could be the one to wake her up. If something like a ridiculous disease of never being able to wake up were to spread, and were this only about saving them, I wouldn’t care about anyone else developing a vaccine or a wonder drug to cure it. I wouldn’t care about the process, if it meant saving them.”
Subaru: “But if I allow my feelings to come into the picture, I want to do things myself. I want to be the one to help them. I want to be the one to wake them up. I want to give it my all and save everything.”
——Thus, Natsuki Subaru would be the one to go.
There were countless others who were stronger.
There were countless others who were more reliable.
There were countless others who were wiser.
There were countless others of class who were more wonderful.
But Natsuki Subaru’s own ego would ignore all of that, and so, he would be the one to go. Only because he wanted to be praised by this girl after saving her.
Subaru: “Sorry for disappointing you with my selfishness.”
Petra: “——You really did disappoint me. Nothing you said changes anything for me.”
After Subaru’s own acknowledge of hiss shamefulness, Subaru petted Petra’s head, bracing himself for her hatred. But after Petra let out an unclear voice, she lifted her head from Subaru’s arms.
Subaru was surprised that her round, large eye had become clouded by giant teardrops. And then—
Subaru: “Another headbutt—-!?”
Petra swung her pointy head downward, and then her forehead caused great pain to the pit of Subaru’s stomach.
She had aimed at Subaru’s defenseless vitals, making him fall to his knees, promptly escaping from his arms with an anticlimactic leap, then closing one of her eyes and sticking out her tongue.
Petra: “Subaru-sama, you idiot! You’re selfish! Why don’t you just go do whatever you want!?”
Subaru: “Guh, oh…”
Petra: “Because when you return after two months, I’ll surprise you by becoming a really beautiful girl. Feel free to regret not being able to see that growth up close!”
Subaru: “Mhm, there’s really something unfortunate about that.”
It would not be unusual for a kid to change during their growth period so suddenly. Petra was a glamorous thirteen-year-old after all, so after two months she might give out a completely different impression.
Subaru: “To tell you the truth, I also grew nineteen centimeters between the seventh and eighth grades…”
Petra: “Huh? That seems a little impossible…”
Well, Subaru’s case was rare; he had only grown so much because he was originally short. Although Petra almost broke down due to the size of the expectations he had of her, this girl clenched her fists soon after.
And then, thrusting both of her fists towards Subaru, she declared.
Petra: “Anyways! What Subaru-sama should do is to go ahead and travel to whatever dangerous places he wishes. worrying everyone and troubling everyone, and after that, come back like you always do.”
Subaru: “It sounds like I’m a pretty big nuisance to others when you say that…”
Although, looking at it that way, the way she had described him surprisingly did not sound far from the truth. Anyhow, Subaru pushed out both of his hands as well, and then matched Petra’s fists with his own.
Subaru: “It’s always troubling for Petra, but I’ll carelessly head towards dangerous places like I always do, and you just wait for me to return after all those things are done and dusted like you always do. It’s Petra’s own special right to welcome us back once we return from our journey.”
Petra: “…You won’t let Frederica-neesama or Ram-neesama say it before me, right?”
Subaru: “Yeah. I promise.”
Petra: “Including Master?”
Subaru: “Don’t worry about that, if Roswaal is the first one to appear after we come back, I’ll smack him.”
Petra: “…Mhm, I understand. Alright, that convinces me.”
She pulled back the fists that were matched with Subaru’s, and then that triumphant spirit started to flow out of the sighing Petra. Largely because he had let Petra take over the flow of the conversation, though.
Petra: “Jeez, Subaru-sama can’t be helped…”
Somehow, it felt like her statement had been delivered in a way that made it seem as if she were talking to everyone. Subaru thought that he couldn’t wrap his head around that.
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Although he was not worried to the point of anxiety, in order to settle an uncertain matter that lied within the mansion, Subaru finally stepped inside that room.
Entering this room was the only time Subaru would naturally hold his breath and lighten his footsteps. But even if he were to enter the room while singing loudly and tapping his feet, the situation within the room definitely would not change.
Still, perhaps he unconsciously decided to keep silent within the room simply for the sake of the girl who was laying on the bed within the room, whose figure would cause pain to swell up within his chest if he were to look at it excessively.
It was a deep sleep. If she were able to wake up, he would wish for her to wake up right this instant.
However, he felt that disturbing her deep sleep would be akin to blasphemy. This girl, who had sunken into a deep sleep of everlasting dreams, was precious to him to such degree.
Subaru: “I say that but, that of course is just my own overly subjective belief, huh…”
Saying those words with a tone of dismay, Subaru pulled out a chair aside the bed to sit on. Just like that, one month had passed since he last stepped foot into this room, and he reunited with the face of a sleeping Rem, whose state showed no change, still in a state of deep slumber—— ever since a year ago.
Subaru: “I’m back, but I’m sorry for coming to see you so late. I had some business to take care of… and on top of that I showed a bit of hesitation, making this visit very last-minute.”
It was obvious but, of course, there was no response from the sleeping Rem. Subaru reached out with his voice, despite knowing that there would be no response, and held a calm expression even then. Natsuki Subaru had an expression that he would expose only to this specific girl.
He owned this determined expression, indicating he was ready to throw away his own life in earnest, that he would only show to Emilia.
He owned this trustful expression, that made it seem as if he would be able to entrust his life, that he would only show to Beatrice.
And then he owned this expression that exposed his weaknesses which he so often tried to conceal, the expression that he would only show to Rem.
Subaru: “What should I tell you… Actually, there’s so many things I can talk to you about, you know? While I couldn’t come here, I was at the Watergate City of Pristella, and a lot of things happened there. It was such a big uproar that, even if I talked to you about it all night, there’d still be more to tell you about… But even then, I have plenty of time in the world to talk to you about all that.”
Subaru gently slipped his hand within the bed, searching for the hand of the girl who had a towel blanket up to her chest, and began speaking upon grasping Rem’s hand.
Within her long fingertips, with her slender, pale arms, her gentleness and existence of her warmth were evident, but for some reason there was the mysterious sense of bloodflow—— No, a sign of life within her was missing.
A lone force within her was preserving her life. However, there was no force within her that simultaneously preserved her life and made it whole.
Rem’s life, with this contradictory situation, had her time frozen even now, trapped within a state of deep slumber. However——
Subaru: “I might finally reach you.”
Subaru: “Of course, it’s also possible that my expectations are too high and I’ll end up not being satisfied. Of course, it’s also possible that, in the end, the Sage will fail to live up to their name and end up with nothing, only to have them apologize for the inaccurate information.”
A clear path to a solution, other than defeating Gluttony, finally was coming into sight.
Although the fact that the path he had followed to reach this answer had been shaped by others was a source of disappointment, even so, it resembled a ray of light, one that seemed like he was finally able to grasp――
Subaru: “Because I was too busy freaking out to ask Echidna.”
Within the Sanctuary, within the Witch’s Tomb, back when he had been invited to a Tea Party in a dream, he confronted Echidna, the Witch of Greed, and in rejecting her, Subaru escaped her control. It was a choice taken to protect Natsuki Subaru’s fragile soul, but at the same time, it was a decision that distanced himself from the one person who might have assisted him in finding a way to save Rem (possibly).
Of course, it was hard to gauge just how much insight Echidna, a Witch most knowledgeable of the past, could lend about an Archbishop brandishing their power in the present. But maybe, had he revealed the situation to her, listening to the Witch’s input might have been helpful.
Right after determinedly rejecting the Witch’s request, he had been confident that the right decision had been made. But as time went on, he became aware that it felt that the passing seasons and the relationships’ development were leaving Rem behind, he became worried about whether his decision was the correct one after all.
Even if he had promised from the bottom of his heart that he would save her, he himself had yet to take any definite action for that end. But finally, he was now able to do something for her sake, having slipped out of the deadlock that had stagnated every time.
In the city of Pristella, a multitude of people had suffered the same type of fate as Rem―― and for the purpose of saving them, they would embark on a journey to the Pleiades Watchtower. However, if he were to point out his real motive, the real reason that drove Subaru towards the Watchtower was of Rem.
Even while understanding that it was both unreasonable and inappropriate, Subaru——
Subaru: “I will save you, Rem. That is the oath I made.”
Just like she had been there for Subaru in those fragile days, in those times. Now, in these times where Rem needed someone’s hand the most, was when Subaru wanted to be the one there for her and offer his hand.
Subaru, who had his eyes closed tight while speaking words of determination, heard a voice which made him raise his face abruptly.
He took a look at Rem with inconceivable surprise within his eyes, only to find that she was laying there, quietly, her eyes closed, holding onto Subaru’s hand in silence. Then whose voice was——
???: “Let go of her hand, Barusu. Just looking at how strongly you are holding her hand brings me pain.”
Subaru: “…Oh, it’s Ram.”
Looking back at the entrance of the room, Subaru saw Ram standing there, her cold look shooting daggers at him. After being relieved by her gaze, Subaru hurriedly released his hand—— the one that had been holding to Rem’s own, having realized that he had been grasping it with more strength than he thought.
Ram: “I cannot bear watching Rem’s whitebait-like fingers being violated by Barusu’s sexual desires.”
Subaru: “Can you not say it like that? That’ll make me feel like my previous determination has turned into something completely loathsome.”
After Subaru let go of Rem’s hand, Ram, who had stepped into the room, took her hand instead. The older sister gently caressed the slender, white fingers of her younger sister, then regarding Subaru with a side glance.
Ram: “Was your determination really that pure? Carefully reflect on yourself a bit more and make your speech again… If you lust after me instead, someone who looks extremely similar to Rem, Ram will also get down shivers up her spine and run away.”
Subaru: “Calm down. Even though your physical appearances are extremely alike, I will never confuse you two because of the differences in your inner selves’ radiance. I am not a half-hearted man who judges only the outside.”
Ram: “Is that so? I guess that is fine, then. Even if you have found a way to wake her up, it is hard to imagine how Rem would feel if Barusu had forgotten her during this year. It would be surprising if she does not hold any detest for you, if your depictions of her during our idle conversations were not just wild fantasies, that is.”
Subaru: “Just how little faith do you have in me… We’ve known each other for a long time now, you know?”
Snorting with her nose like she always did, Ram’s movements indicated that she was about to leave her seat. Along with getting up from her seat, she looked around the room and then,
Ram: “I need to get ready to leave so, someone also needs to prepare a second set of clothes for Rem. She doesn’t sweat, so changing her clothes really is unnecessary but… her body still requires being wiped off.”
Ram: “Something’s widening below your nose, disgusting.”
Subaru: “I didn’t say anything because there wasn’t really anything to say but, even when I don’t say anything this is the treatment I get!?”
Taking care of Rem’s body—— Rem, fallen in slumber due to having both her Name and Memories eaten, was basically unreactive to any physical stimulus. There was no real practical reason for doing things like wiping her body and changing her clothes.
The reason of those around her for doing such things was no more than to simply feel some comfort occasionally, that her existence was not being left behind.
Only considering the practical aspects of doing all this, actions like Subaru making a speech and Ram taking care of her younger sister’s body, neither did anything positive for the situation.
Yet, despite that, the reason why neither attempted to stop such pointless actions, was because everyone realized that even if they did not say it out loud, they knew that people still acknowledged the fact their actions would not be accompanied by actual consequences.
Subaru: “Isn’t about time for you to start feeling as if Rem is your real sister?”
Subaru asked this question unexpectedly to her as she was looking down at the figure of a sleeping Rem, lending her own hand, with a gentleness that did not befit the girl named Ram.
Even though Ram bravely took care of Rem, no memories of this girl who represented her other half remained within her. The girl was so similar to Ram, it was impossible for anyone to claim that they were unrelated. But if one were to solely consider Ram’s true feelings, Ram’s relationship with Rem was a weak one.
Still, days like these passed by for a whole year. Even though she had lost her memories, it was possible for new, different ones to form. Perhaps, right now, definite memories were taking form within Ram.
Ram: “Earnest feelings such as those do not sprout that easily. No memories of her remain in me and I have never witnessed this girl in an awake state. Although I could imagine that she was probably someone of excellence and dignity, similar to Ram.”
Subaru: “Sure she was excellent, but I don’t really have any memory of her being that dignified. Rather, I’ve had my fair share of worries because she would be in such a hurry to the point of being reckless.”
She did blow away half his body, well, there were circumstances.
Ram responded to Subaru with an “I see”, her voice listless, similar to the wind.
Ram: “Speaking of memories that I do not remember, even if just for amusement, is nothing more than moving backwards. It is something Ram is not very fond of, Barusu.”
Subaru: “Is that so? If you say so, then I’ll stop.”
Ram: “…After she wakes up, if I regain my memories of her then, we can talk about plenty of things. But even if they are not restored, as long as she wakes up, then you may talk as much as you wish.”
Peeping into the face of her younger sister, Ram played with her bangs with an unchanging expression. Rem’s hair freely drifted down from above her pale forehead, Ram let out a small sigh.
Her profile looked cruel, yet gentle, to Subaru.
Even if she remembered nothing, even if memories of her had been lost, it was not as if their bond had disappeared. And even if it had indeed vanished, that did not that they could not be forged anew. Those were his thoughts.
Subaru: “Well, leave all that to me. I’ll conquer the Sage’s watchtower and then definitely make Rem wake up. And then you two sisters will have your emotional reunion.”
Thus, Subaru said these words in an excessively bright manner, with a deliberately loud voice. If anything, this moment between Subaru and Ram did not befit the quiet atmosphere within the room.
However, Ram looked back at him after his remarks with an extremely confused look.
Ram: “What are you saying, Barusu?”
After that, Ram looked at Subaru with a look like that of looking at an idiot.
Ram: “Ram will also accompany you on this next journey, so putting it that way is pretty condescending. If it is going to be an emotional reunion, Ram will be having it herself.”
Subaru: “That’s news that I haven’t heard before, you know!”
In response to Subaru widening his eyes in surprise, Ram looked at Subaru with a look even more full of spite.
However that gaze was unreasonable, for he could not know what he had not been told about, and he could not be aware of things that he had not heard about.
In response to Subaru asking what she was talking about, Ram held a manner of blocking her ears from his words, rejecting him.
And after that, this day of preparation would go by, and the two would not be able to have a straightforward conversation.
——Ram and Rem, the sisters, had been confirmed to accompany them.
A journey to the Pleiades Watchtower, to meet the Sage, Shaula.
That was the type of situation that seemed to lie ahead, for a total of eight participants, a large group.
 – Translation note by Remonwater: “Petra actually refers to Roswaal as «danna-sama» (旦那様), which means «master (of the mansion)», but «master-sama» sounds redundant so I’ve decided to omit the «sama» honorific.”
 – The Earth Spider and Goddess Statue bits refer to the “The Three Idiots Set Out! Earth Spider Episode” and “The Three Idiots Set Out! Cursed Goddess Statue Episode” side stories that took place between Arcs 4 and 5. The former was briefly referenced in Arc 5 Chapter 29, and has a summary-translation here. The latter is not translated in any way.
 – A term used to refer to immature, young fish, which span between one to two inches. They are regarded as a delicacy.